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Why does my computer hate clouds so much?

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Ok guys, I need some expert advice. I upgraded my computer from an Intel Celeron 950mhz (100mhz FSB), 288 megs SDRAM, Geforce 2 MX400 64 meg AGP 2x video card to the following: Athlon XP 2100+ CPU (266mhz FSB), VIA KT266A Chipset Motherboard 512 megs Kingston DDR DRAM Same video card as above but now running at 4x AGPOn my old system one could not reasonably expect blazing frames in FS2002 of course but it was certainly usable. The biggest frame killer with my old Celeron system was clouds, especially when using a complex panel such as 767PIC. A medium sized cumulus cloud formation would bring my computer to it's knees when flying through clouds in the 2D panel view (again with a complex panel being used). Frame rates would drop to around 4-5 FPS until clearing the cloud bank. I learned to either live with this limitation of old hardware or used FSUIPC to limit cloud thickness to 300ft :)Now, from what I've read, the Celeron CPU is a VERY low performing budget chip, exspecially at 950 mhz. From benchmark tests a Celeron at this speed roughly has the same throughput as a Pentium III at around 600 mhz. It's just not the fastest pussycat in the jungle by anyone's standards. I do realize that the Geforce 2 MX400 video card is no speed demon either but I have always read that FS2002 was a CPU-Centric application in terms of performance. I therefore assumed that my original cloud eating FPS was a legacy of the Celeron CPU.Ok, now back to the present :) New computer as mentioned above. The Athlon XP 2100 CPU should easily blow the doors of off the pathetic Celeron 950. Athlon XP 2100 CPU's have benchmarked equal to the throughput of at least one series of Pentium 4's at 2+ Ghz, hence AMD's 2100 model number if those of you reading this are up to speed on all of this stuff about AMD vs Intel and total throughput vs Clock speed, ect. At any rate the Athlon should easily eat the lowly Celeron for lunch :)So, FS2002 is hurriedly reloaded on my new 'supercomputer', old Geforce 2 video card still hangining in there but now running at 4x AGP. Taking 767PIC up for a spin, this time with clouds unlimited, gosh, don't you know how SMOOTH going through a cumulus cloud will be now, here we go, this will be so cool watch how my frames don't even flicker, I'm so excited, 1, 2 ,3, into the cloud.Ummmmmm.Errrr.Frames back down to 4-5 FPS again, same as in my old Celeron computer. And down to 4-5 FPS they stay until I'm clear of the offending cloud mass. I could just cry, it's so unfair.And I'm not flying through thunderstorms when this is happening, even mid-sized 700ft thick or so Cumulus clouds kill my computer. Okay, so the common denominator of bad frames: the Geforce 2 MX400 card. But I thought FS2002 was mostly CPU dependent regarding FPS? Why does my video card hate clouds so much? Shouldn't the Althon CPU be ripping through those virtual visible aggreates of water vapor like butter? If the problem is solely my video card, why just clouds? Elevated mesh terrain, autogen buildings, lakes, rivers, all going by smooth as glass at fairly dense scenery settings. But clouds, these infernal simulated clouds, my computer just refuses to maintain a symbiotic relationship with them :( I can honestly say that my FPS in clouds has not improved one single bit, in fact, I almost could swear the in-clouds framerate is even lower with my new system.Does anybody have any insight into what is going on? Does anyone have any other similiar hardware configuration and are experiencing the same problem? Thanks very much!

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I can think of two suggestions:1st, and easiest, check your anti-aliasing setting for your MX card. In my experience, clouds and high anti-aliasing settings (esp on weaker AA cards like the MX), can bring frame rates down. Try disabling AA, if you do indeed use it, and see what happens.2nd, is to reinstall windows, FS2K2, and the whole show. To quote my recent experience, I just upgraded from an AMD 1.4G, 512 SDR, GF3 Ti200 to a P4 2.4G (@2.7G), 512M DDR, same video card, cranked up FS2K2 under the old windows install (ME), and my heart sank when I saw 12 fps where I was previously seeing 18 fps with the Athlon. Reinstalled windows from scratch (actually changed to XP because I could now rely on my CH rudder/yoke actually working with an Intel chipset - long saga!), and voila 25 - 30fps in the same situation. YMMV.Gary

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Thank you Gary. I will certainly give that some thought. A fresh install of everything does sometimes help out.

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There is one thing I have come to believe about FS . It was never ment to be maxed out . I have never had a version of FS that could handle it. I have always had a "moderate" machine. I never buy new hardware with the idea that it will make FS "blaze". I buy new hardware to make the new technology work with the technology so to speak. If I keep in that mind set Iam usually very happy after I get things set up proper.Let's look at a couple of things here AMD XP 2100 (1.9ghz) very nice chip and fast enough. Geforce 2 MX bottom line geforce card from about 3 years ago. It was never designed for high end performance . The GF2 is indeed not going to give you what you want "eye candy" wise or even performance in some cases. Fs2002 is proboly struggling alot more than you think with a GF2. I would highly recommend a GF4 128MB or a ATI 9500. It might not be the answer you are looking for but lets look at the difference $140 USD will give you example GF2 MX 64MB specs 700 million texels per second fill rate 20 million triangles/sec through Hardware T&L setup 2.7 GB/sec bandwidth )example Geforce 4 Ti 4600 128MBMemory 128Mb DDR RAMMemory Clock speed 350Mhz Clock speed 275Mhz Memory Bandwidth 7.1Gb Peak Fill rate (Pixels/sec) 1.2 Billion (1.1 Billion) Operations per second 1.23 Trillion Triangles per second 136 Million the GF4 4200 128MB is slower but not by to much. What does all this mean. The GF4 will give a great improvement on thing like "cloud spites" because it's memory and core clock not only run much faster but pixel fill rates at 1.2 BILLION compared to 700MILLION. That is a huge difference. HUGE. This does not mean you will see more fps but what it does mean is the faster a pixel can be rendered the smoother the performance. That is what is important here. I hate to be the one to make it sound like this but I will not act like there is some magic tweak that will make this better. I do not max everything out. I can't, it would bring my performance down to a unexceptable level.I use FS as a trainer so I try to find a nice balance. I have my setup with everything max except visabilty which is not 100, clouds 65, AI 65. I use FSAA 2X antisotropic 4X with full optimiztions via aturner.My resoltion is 1152x864@32 on my 19" Mitsubishi CTR Flat screen.The picture is really nice and I always get good performance .My tips with your new system are the following to get great performance 1. Get the lastest 4 in 1 drivers for your VIA chipset http://downloads.viaarena.com/drivers/4in1...ion4in1445v.exe2. The best drivers for you are proboly the 12.90 from guru3d.com nvidia.com might still have them 3. I would not use FSAA unless it's FSAA 1X which I think that card can do 4. Kill all programs not needed. If you run XP you can cut off a ton of services. I advise going to tweak-xp.com and looking that up. This is somewhat different for everyone. I run Win2k with 14 process only all the time and by default there are 25 + running and that hogs alot of memory 5.You might want to reformat the hard drive and start over so all the new hardware is detected fresh then do the above. 6.get all the updates for your o/s no matter if you think you need them or not . It's a good practice to your computer performance on top.Atleast the critical updates. 7.If you have direct 8.1 you might want to set the applet that cuts off sound debugging . This frees up alot of resources http://www.migman.com/hw/utilities/DX8_debug.htmDefrag the Hd with a good disk defrager like nortons or disk keep lite.I use window washer (www.webroot.com)to clear out all the stuff that internet exploder :-lol leaves in index.dat and other things . This is pretty much the steps I take to keep everything running well. You system will only run as well as you manage it . Kind of like a car :) This is proboly alot more info than you wanted but these pointers can make a huge difference in over all performance :) Now iam not computer guru ( well I guess Iam alittle :-lol ) but I do run my own computer buisness doing repairs,networks etc.. so my thoughts are not just something I have made up in terms of computer performance.good luck :D Capt.Richard Dillon (KATL)www.jetstarairlines.comhttp://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/images/wxrebeta.jpghttp://jdtllc.com/images/RCsupporter.jpg"Lets Roll" 9/11 -----------------------Specs AMD 2400 XP MSI KTV4 512MB DDR 2100Asus GF4 ti 4200 128MBSB Audigy Gamer Ch Products Yoke and Pedals(usb)Windows 2000 Serivce Pack 3

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More than excellent advice as always Richard - if you don't mind me saying so :-). Just two things to add:With slow moving sims and FS in particular, anisotropic filtering is of utmost importance. For that reason alone, going with a Radeon 9500 instead of Ti4200 makes the best sense. Unfortunately, all NVidia Ti4 cards halve the multi-texturing fill rate when aniso of any amount is enabled (its basically has the same speed as single texturing). All NV Ti4x cards have aniso (and Anti-Aliasing) performance that are drastically sub-par when compared to ATI's - for the same price.Second Suzanne, after disabling AA if it was enabled, make sure you look at the cloud slider in FS - its in the display page. Lowering this slider should really help your cloud frame-rate hit.Take care,Elrond

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I have a system similiar to your old one (P3 1ghz, 512 mgs, geforce2 mx400). I also had similiar cloud difficulties that you had until I change the geforce drivers from the 40.xx (cant really remember which one) to the 30.82's. Now with my display settings all at 75% (including clouds) I get fps around 18-20 (locked at 20). I use to get about 6-8 before the driver switch.hope this helps!Dave

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>I have a system similiar to your old one (P3 1ghz, 512 mgs, >geforce2 mx400). I also had similiar cloud difficulties that >you had until I change the geforce drivers from the 40.xx >(cant really remember which one) to the 30.82's. Now with my >display settings all at 75% (including clouds) I get fps >around 18-20 (locked at 20). I use to get about 6-8 before >the driver switch. >>hope this helps! >Dave I have a P3-1000, Geforce2Mx system as well and after loading the latest Nvidia drivers, I also would like to go back to the 30.82 drivers. Where can I get them and what do I have to do to "go back" . To install the latest drivers, I have only ever just run the exe file and the install has gone fine -- but have never reverted to earlier drivers.Barry

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Hey Barry,Start of by going to www.guru3d.com and download the 30.82 drivers in the Nvidia section. You should also go to their utility page and download Detonator Destroyer. Now all you have to do is use the control panels add/remove program to uninstall the drivers currently on your system, and when it asks you to restart your computer to complete the uninstall select no. Now open the detonator destroyer and click uninstall and ok. Your computer will restart and once the computer has gone through the "new found hardware" thing, you will then install the 30.82's. I hope this helps.I also believe that detonator destroyer comes with a tutorial on this too.Dave

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Hello and thank you so much everyone for the advice and tips! I will definitely try all these great suggestions collectively and see what I can come up with. The Geforce 2 has never been able to run with any kind of performance with FSAA 1x or 2x, so I've never used it at all; rather, I always have soley used FS2002's own FSAA setting.I am beginning to believe that cloud sprites are simply bottlenecking my antiquated video card more than anything else in terms of bandwidth. Clouds are the only real framerate killer with my new Athlon system and FS2002, so this sounds like a viable culprit :)I am a poor college student so I will have to live with the G2 video for a while longer, lol. All these suggestions are being put to good use though and I'm printing this thread out right now to keep as a reference. Thanks again you guys, this is a great help to me! :)

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Hi there, well I have a system similar with the one you had (Pentium Celeron 1.7 Ghz, GeForce 2 MX400 64 megs, 256 RAM, Intel D845EBG2 motherboard) and I also had problems with my FPS that usually were around 8-10 with the FS2002's resolution at 1024x768 16 bits and when I change the resolution to 32 bits it was even worst. I was running with the 30.xx driver for my Nvidia card and I updated it two days ago to the 40.xx driver. Just the update didn't do anything that I could notice but then I decided to play with the settings in the driver's setup screen and was then when I got results.With the 40.xx driver, the setup screen is different to the 30.xx and I think there are more options to turn off or on. So, I went to the driver's setup screen and in the OpenGL settings tab I checked the box "Disable support for enhanced CPU instructions set". I don't know what this means :-lol but it really improves my FPS, now i'm running my sim at 1280x960x16 bits with all the sliders to the max but the clouds at 80 and I get 20FPS and more if I want (it's locked at 20 so I have more system's resources for rendering textures, etc) and it is REALLY smooth now, it's like I had upgrated my whole system.Try this before doing any of the other things and maybe you are lucky like me. :)Carlos.

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Wow, thank you Carlos, I certainly will give that a try. I'm using 40.xx drivers right now so I will check it out and report back.

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>The Geforce 2 has never been able to run with any kind of >performance with FSAA 1x or 2x, so I've never used it at >all; rather, I always have soley used FS2002's own FSAA >setting. What you describe as "FS2002's own FSAA setting" is just a switch within FS2002 to enable the anti-aliasing abilities of your graphics card from within FS2002.Enabling it here is EXACTLY the same as enabling it from withing your driver control panel. Try running with it disabled from within FS2002 and see if things improve. Ian

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>So, I went to the driver's setup screen and in the OpenGL >settings tab I checked the box "Disable support for enhanced >CPU instructions set". I don't know what this means :-lol >but it really improves my FPS, now i'm running my sim at >1280x960x16 bits with all the sliders to the max but the >clouds at 80 and I get 20FPS and more if I want (it's locked >at 20 so I have more system's resources for rendering >textures, etc) and it is REALLY smooth now, it's like I had >upgrated my whole system. That is really odd. FS2002 does not use OpenGL. Well done for fixing your frame rate issues, but the change that you report above is unlikely to be the cause of your improvement. Did you change anything else?Ian

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